Content from 2007-12

Wheels of the Chariot
posted on 2007-12-31 15:20:00
We are only what we are,
straining in the fog of an early morning.
Fearful but not yet unhinged,
we are waiting to spin in
an endless dance. Advance
and retreat, feints and
confessions. That the art of existence
is still an area of active research.
That the domain and range of man are
still a combative struggle. To be
simply is not so simple. Thoreau
deceived at least one. But
perhaps in a short time
we will not falter in
our waltz with death
and instead laugh,
like children do.

I sought in my sinew some struggle,
some measure of resistance, against
what even in youth I recognized as
the turmoils of a Jagannath. But my
vertebrae were not as strong as I
expected. Or dreaded maturation
has weakened once well-formed
resolve to fling my body
under the crushing, undulating
wheels of the chariot.
Form, Order, Rhythm: A Theme
posted on 2007-12-31 04:30:36
"To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in posterity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness." - Czeslaw Milosz, Unattainable Earth, Pg. 141 (the last page)

"Since my youth I have tried to capture in words a reality such as I contemplated walking the streets of a human city and I have never succeeded; that is why each of my poems seems to me the token of an unaccomplished oeuvre. I learned early that language does not adhere to what we really are, that we move in a big make-believe which is maintained by books and pages of newsprint. And every one of my efforts to say something real ended the same way, by my being driven back to the enclosure of from, as if I were a sheep straying from the flock." - Czeslaw Milosz, Unattainable Earth, Pg. 32

"I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free form the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:
a thing is brought forth which we didn't know we had in us,
so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out
and stood in the light, lashing his tail.

That's why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion,
though it's an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel.
It's hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from,
when so often they're put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.

What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons,
who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues,
and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand,
work at changing his destiny for their convenience?

It's true that what is morbid is highly valued today,
and so you may think I am only joking
or that I've devised just one more means
of praising Art with the help of irony.

There was a time when only wise books were read,
helping us to bear our pain and misery.
This, after all, is not quite the same
as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.

And yet the world is different from what it seems to be
and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings
People therefore preserve silent integrity,
thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficulty it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.

What I'm saying here is no, I agree, poetry,
as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly,
under unbearable duress and only with the hope
that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument." - Czeslaw Milosz, Ars Poetica, New and Collected Poems Pg. 240
Ready for a New Year?
posted on 2007-12-29 07:20:24
I am. 2007 was more trouble than I was really looking for. I'm certain that 2008 is going to rock hard though.

Part of that is that I've been cleared to work at TVS full time starting in January. That's one thing off my mind. I'll have more details when I return from my trip to Montana on the 9th. I leave next Wednesday, if you're curious.

I've got a lot that I've been taking care of and still have to take care of before the trip. So sorry for being distant. And the blog silence. Things are picking up though. I also have a slew of interesting projects to drone on about in the New Year.

Before all that though, a Xmas Recap. Xmas was great.

Happy Xmas 07

You had this much fun too, right? I'm finally moved back into my room. Most importantly, my digital life is all pimped out.

Workbench

See? I've been working on pulling so much power from one outlet that I kill the house. Unfortunately I've only succeeded in dimming the lights. Just kidding. Well, about the trying to part anyway.

Before I get any questions I should note that the iPod is Dad's. I haven't converted yet. Additionally, the old Nokia has been replaced. The setup is great. I can switch between the laptop, desktop/server, and PS3 on the LCD. Presently I keep the speakers tied to the PS3 at all times but I'll probably buy an adapter to share them across the devices. Eventually I'll get around to doing the same for the keyboard and mouse. Fear the cable nesting that will occur.

Cable Mess and Electrical and Heating Disasters, Here I come!

Now, on to projects. Of course, I'm going to start programming first and foremost. I've decided I ought to progress in the following order: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, then Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming, and finally How to Design Programs. On the side I'll be working on Rosen's Discrete Math, Spivak's Calculus, and maybe Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra. If I manage to work through even half of that this year that would be pretty good stuff. So far I own the following programming texts.

There should be a sign: SICP Coming Soon. Right next to the Sipser. Yep.

SICP is in the mail along with Discrete Math. I'm planning on ordering Spivak's Calculus and Strang's Linear Algebra later on.

Besides programming though you've got to have some stuff up your sleeve and I certainly do. I'm going to set this PC up for recording work and get some guitar doodles down at some point, just for fun. I also am filming virtual footage for a skate video. It makes me the biggest nerd possible but I don't mind. I've got 1 minute and 40 seconds of decent footie so far and some friends working on parts. Beyond that I'm going to work on getting Linux up and going properly on the PS3 and getting the speakers and input devices shared between all my systems as mentioned (probably with a KVM). I also will look into getting my PS3 to behave as a legitimate media server. Finally, I'm looking at getting my website server moved to a VM and run off my desktop. I've got the VM up and we'll see about performance issues and other testing soon.

I'm collecting Course Materials for SICP at the moment and have to run to take care of some of today's other nonsense but I'll be back for more soon. Peace!
Holiday Greetings
posted on 2007-12-23 05:59:21
Hello there, everyone. I've only dropped off the face of the earth. I'm not dead. Neither is Dad. So far we're all holding together well. He's had his brain radiated a few times and had bone infusions. Chemo begins shortly after Christmas. There is a Doctor who has talked about remission and on the whole I think we're optimistic. Or fighters anyway. Now, on to all the other business.

I'll be in Montana from the 2nd to the 11th, so I've got that coming up. I'll be in Bozeman if you're wondering. It'll be nice to get away for a bit...even if it is for a family reunion with people I haven't seen in a good while, my biological Dad's side of the family. For those who don't know, Mom divorced and the all too awesome feller suffering from Lung Cancer is (technically) my Step-Dad.

I need to draft up a schedule for the new year to figure out how I'm getting my studies done. And whose lectures and course materials I'll be following as I have a choice in some cases. More on that soon. There's also been a ton of great nerd discussion floating around the blogosphere of late, some of which I'll try to comment on in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here's a trivial nugget of thought.

I watched Lecture 1A of the classic MIT Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs series tonight and something struck me, mostly because Sussman brought the idea to the forefront with clarity at some point. He said something fairly fundamental that borders on self-evident when Computer Science is viewed introspectively but I hadn't formerly considered. In essence, Computer Science is about how to knowledge and process rather than declarative knowledge or fact. Thus, a programming languages job is to serve as a description of process and provide tools towards that end.

The part of this that I hadn't formerly considered is that this is why we bother, or even focus, on learning new programming languages and methods of abstraction rather than focusing on writing specific programs. Sure, many schools recommend a course in Compiler, Operating System, or Programming Language Design and there are plenty of blog posts detailing such undertakings in an effort to enhance skill and knowledge in the field but nothing is so popular or so emphasized as learning new languages. Regularly and of different paradigms and abstractions, if possible. There's something to think on in greater depth here about why that is that I haven't seen eloquently written about by Yegge, Graham, Braithwaite, Atwood, or anyone else. Perhaps if I can capture what it is, I'll write about it. In the meantime, it's just a thought.
The Latest
posted on 2007-12-13 05:04:46
Yesterday a certain lovely friend of mine noted that I hadn't been writing on here lately. I admit it. It's true. I've sort of disappeared from the vast expanse of the net as the semester has drawn to a close. I'm preparing more substantial and interesting updates for later but for now here are the important notes.

Dad: Dad's starting on chemo, I believe, next weekend. What he has isn't curable but it's also impossible to state how long it will take to kill him. It could take as little as a year but it could take as much as a decade. As we know more I'll try to keep you all filled in and in all likelihood Mom, Dad, or both of them will set up a blog for the express purpose of keeping everyone up to date. I'll post here when that happens.

School: I've got one more exam next Monday which I was supposed to take this Tuesday at noon but for some reason thought was on Wednesday. After that I'm done with school for a year. I've been self-educating with lots of nerd (math + programming) stuff lately and will be doing much more in the year to come after relaxing a bit over Xmas break. My amazon.com wishlist made in my Xmas list post a week or two back is, in essence, my syllabus. I'll be posting notes, discoveries, and more here as I go.

Work: Two big things have happened on the work front. One, the Joomla-based intranet that I've been working on for the past two months or so went live today. It's in production and 300 people are using it. That's pretty cool. I built that. Two, I spotted a 2008 Help Desk schedule that has me working from January 11th through the end of 2008. I haven't been officially told that I'm hired but if I'm not they need to revise their schedule. I'm sure more details are forthcoming. :-)

That's it for now. Have any thoughts on that? What have you been up to?

Note: Nerd articles and rants to return soon.
Recent Developments
posted on 2007-12-03 04:20:12
I know I haven't posted in a while. A lot has been happening. I found out earlier today that my Dad has lung cancer. I didn't want to post anything until we were sure. It's stage 4 and has spread beyond the lungs. It is treatable and we're going to see what we can do. All of this is a bit surreal. These are strange times. Oddly though, everything is pretty well timed. Mom is taking some time off work. I'm actually taking a year off school, working full time, and will be living at home for a few months so I'll be able to help out. I'm doing fine so far. Maybe the news will hit hard later.

I can say this: I don't have any regrets about not knowing him or spending time with him. It's been 16 or so awesome years. Hopefully there will be many more but I wouldn't change a thing about what's come so far. And that's one thing I can be very, very happy about.

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